Skip to main content

Full text of "Verdict On India"

See other formats


PART THREE
CHAPTER  1
HEIL HINDU!
THIS is probably the first presentation of India in which Gandhi
makes his entrance in the third act. Usually he comes on with the
rise of the curtain^ and dominates the play till its final fall; and
even during his brief exist you can hear him making noises off.
* But then Gandhi is India \ .. you may tell me. * We have been
told so over and over again. So it must be true/
On the contrary, it is blatantly untrue. Gandhi is violently
repudiated by the overwhelming majority of 100 million Muslims,
who regard him, quite rightly, as their most dangerous enemy.
Gandhi is no more "India' to them than Laval is France to the
Free French. Of course, you do not hear much about these
Muslims ; they have little cash to spare for propaganda, nor have
they Gandhi's genius for publicity. But they surely have some
right to be heard, and in a later chapter we shall hear them.
la the meantime, let us switch some belated limelight on to the
elderly prima donna of the Hindu political stage. We cannot meet
him in the flesh because, during the whole of my stay in India, he
was in, gaol. The phrase * in gaol? is somewhat misleading, because
the gaol was one of the Aga Khan's palaces, and he could have
walked out of it at any moment he chose, by signing a half-sheet
of notepaper. He would not have been signing away his soul, he
would not have been betraying himself or anybody else, nor would
he have been influencing in the smallest degree, either for better or
for worse, the cause of India's independence. He would simply
have been signing a guarantee not to sabotage the war effort, not
to lay his country open to the Japanese, not to stab the British
and American armies in the back. That was all he was asked to
do, and he would not do it. He preferred to stay in gaol, polishing
his halo, while his myriads of admirers confused the issue with a
^moke-barrage of verbal incense that swept round the whole world,
even creeping into the legislatures of Britain and the U.S.A.,
tickling the throats of parliamentarians and senators, and causing